If you are young, hip and gluten free in Seattle then you need to stop in at Capitol Cider.
Actually, my husband says that even if you are not young and hip, you still need to check it out. We did! We went there Wednesday night for a tasting of Square Mile Cider. I am a new fan of the pub and of naturally GF cider!
First about the pub style restaurant – open for only a few weeks it was packed last night (a Wednesday night) with a young 20 to 30 something crowd. A former art gallery, the space is now a 4,000 square-foot cider bar in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle. It features 30 ciders on tap, another 100 bottled ciders and gluten free food. They also serve a variety of beers and wines.
The atmosphere was less of a pub and more of a cool urban dining and drinking spot.
The first floor is the main dining area – bistro style tables and wood booths, dark painted walls adorned with original Masterpiece replicas painted by the atelier students at Gage Academy of Art. We ate dinner at a window table.
They don’t shout that they are gluten free, but the entire kitchen is 100% GF! Everything on the menu is made in-house. In other words, everything on the menu is safe for anyone who is gluten free and there is no chance of cross-contamination. I had the Pub salad – the salad was enough of a meal to leave me feeling full with a nice bed of lettuce topped with crusty prosciutto and a generous serving of white chicken.
As anyone who is celiac knows, truly GF French fries are hard to come by since most are contaminated when fried in the same oil as say wheat-breaded chicken nuggets. After confirming the fries are truly GF, I had to order a side of them to go with my salad.
They were tasty - real potatoes (not some overly processed potato-like substance) with peppery flavor.
My husband had the Fish n Chips that came out looking pretty crispy.
After tasting them, he discovered they were cooked to perfection – it is just the GF batter they are using that makes them look . . . well burned. His meal also looked a little skimpy for the price, compared to our American standards; it was two pieces of fish with a bucket of fries. I think the appearance of skimpiness was as much due to how it was served, as it was to the amount of food. On a plate it might of looked like a full meal, but two crispy pieces of fish on the wood plank with the bucket of fries next to it looked more like an appetizer than a dinner. A side of salad would have made it more of meal. In fact, I ended up letting him finish off my salad. However, my husband was more than satisfied.
We went down to the basement for the cider tasting. The basement is definitely the party area with a long wood bar and an impressive row of taps featuring a huge selection of cider. They call this area the Ballast Bar and Gameroom as it is adorned with two shuffleboard tables, a stage with a piano, a fireplace and plenty of big tables for large groups to gather.
I am not a connoisseur of cider – I like a bold red wine with my meals. In the summer when it is hot out, I do enjoy white wine and will settle for a Pinot Grigio as long as it is not very sweet and pretty dry. As such, I was not sure I would like the cider. For those of you new to cider, it is made from apples that are harvested and fermented in the fall, aged over the winter and then the beverage is released in the spring.
I was surprised by how much I like the Square Mile Cider.
We sampled Spur & Vine and The Original. The cider is sweet but not like some white wines where you grow tired of the sweetness after a few sips. It has more of a texture of light beer than wine, so I found it quiet refreshing. I am so used to drinking wine that I enjoyed the ease with which the cider slid down my throat – a very welcome relief from all of the tannins in wine. At 6.7% alcohol the cider sits nicely between wine and beer with less alcohol than most wines but less than beer. It would be the perfect drink for a summer evening.
My favorite was the Spur & Vine Square Mile Cider - this cider starts with the same apples as The Original but they add Galaxy hops to it during the cold conditioning. The result for me was a light bubbly drink with a slightly citrus flavor, but not too sweet.
We also had a few sips of Anthem Pear and Reserve Nat’s Newtown Pippin. Anthem Pear was my second favorite – more sweet than Square Mile, not sure I could drink more than a glass of this one. But again I enjoyed that it was light and fruity and somewhat bubbly. Reserve Nat’s was very dry – a bit too dry and bitter for me.
Did I mention that the Pub was packed! At 7:30 pm we snagged the last two stools at the bar, by 8:30 pm it was standing room only – and everyone was drinking cider. The bar tender said cider sales have increased by 50% in the last few years as cider is the new hip drink among the younger crowd. That was pretty obvious, as my husband and I had a good ten years on the fellow samplers.
Want to find more of our Favorite Places to Dine out Gluten Free in Seattle?